Depending on the variety--and there is a wide variety--a young apple tree will bear fruit about three years after it's planted. Selecting the right location and planting your apple trees at the right time of year play a huge role in determining when juicy, crisp fruit develops on your tree.
In cold climates, like the central and northern regions of the United States--where the ground freezes during the winter--plant your apples trees in the early spring. If the ground has thawed and warmed enough that you can easily dig into it deep enough for the root ball of the tree to have room to expand, then it's time to plant. Cool days that follow the planting will help your apple tree establish its root season and begin to grow during the summer.
Mild, Warm Climates
Plant apple trees in the late fall in warmer regions that do not experience heavy freezing over the winter. This is actually the very best time to plant an apple tree, as it allows the tree roots to fully establish themselves, giving your apple tree a head start for the spring. If you live in a warmer winter area without consistent moisture, check and water your newly-planted apple tree throughout the winter months.
When planting an apple tree, the location is as important as the time of year you plant. Select a sunny spot that will give the tree at least six hours of sunlight. Although apple trees tolerate a variety of soil types, the soil should be fertile and well draining. Apples do better when they have good air circulating through them, with plenty or room. Most apple tree varieties are not self pollinating and need to have a companion apple tree nearby, though not necessarily of the same variety.